The industry is currently in the throes of a major boom, not only because of the surge in exciting new innovations and technologies, but also because of a growing demand for skilled workers. BuildForce Canada’s 2018 Report states that nearly 21% of Canada’s 2017 workforce will be retiring in the next ten years. In order to avoid a potentially damaging skills shortage, consistent new recruitment and quality training across the education board is crucial.
Skills Ontario partners with schools across the province to promote the skilled trades to youth and parents looking at future education options. Their Skills Competitions foster talent in everything from welding and carpentry to animation and design to TV production, in elementary school students through to post-secondary students. The competitions, which take place every spring, challenge students’ abilities in their field of choice and extend involvement opportunities to core priority groups who lack representation in construction, like the Young Women’s Conference and the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Student Conference.
Highlights in the construction industry’s evolving education and college programs include advancements in Building Information Modeling (BIM) Management and Virtual Reality, where post-secondary students can integrate all the principles of construction management and virtually design and manage a site from the beginning of a project to the end.
Students are also being educated for future environmental challenges: just this spring, the Ontario government decided to invest $7.8 million in the research, education, and construction of tall wood buildings, which store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Through the new Mass Timber program, new skills development and technical training will be available to students pursuing the future of an ecologically sustainable construction industry. In fact, designs for The Arbour, a tall wood structure to be built at George Brown College’s Waterfront Campus, are already in place. Construction of the naturally sourced, sustainable project will begin in 2021 as the first of its kind in the province.
Workplace safety and best practices in safety are another priority in the Canadian industry, with the League of Champions leading the charge in creating a culture of awareness and safety in collaboration with companies, colleges, and associations. In championing safety standards as necessary for a well-functioning, efficient and responsible industry, the League pledges to support every Canadian construction workers right to safe employment.
Adding to these features is the expansion of Metrolinx, which acts as an umbrella for Toronto and Hamilton’s public transportation systems, as well as GO Transit, the Union-Pearson Express, and Light Rail developments. The creation of new ways to model, build, transport, and reimagine construction is a definitive part of Canada’s future.